1. Start a dining agency for single people: match single people and arrange for them to have dinner dates. Or organize dinner dates for mixed groups. Use ads in both local newspapers and singles magazines to inform single people of your service.
2. Bring out a selection of men's rings which feature the name or emblem of popular football teams.
3. Produce a publication which consists entirely of advertisements from sellers of craft work and craft equipment and supplies. This publication might be like a catalogue, but instead of displaying the goods of one seller, it contains ads from hundreds of different sellers.
4. Start an international classified advertising publication for philatelists. Provide dealers and collectors with an international dimension to their sales effort and search for stamps respectively.
5. Set up a firm which provides tours of the 'dark-side' of a big city. Your tour might visit: streets where prostitutes and drug dealers wait for clients; skid row; a main rubbish tip; crime ridden neighborhoods, etc. Give your tour a name, like 'The Shocking Side of (Your City). This is already happening in Belfast where USA tourists want to see the Falls road and sites of bombings. Sick? Perhaps, but another way to think of it is natural human curiosity.
6. Produce souvenir pillowcases. Each pillowcase might be printed with pictures of tourist scenery. Souvenir pillowcases have the novel feature that they help a person relax and sleep. The pictures of tourist scenery prompt a person to think of pleasant holiday locations.
7. Begin a mail order business which sells football videos, films, photographs, postcards, posters and slides. Advertise your business in football magazines and programs.
8. Put together sets of fossils. The sets might be based on a type of animal. For example, insect or fish fossils. Or organize the sets of fossils according to particular geological periods. Sell the sets by post to collectors and schools.
9. Start a children's telephone pal club. Pen pal clubs help children develop their writing ability. This club helps them become accustomed to using the telephone. Each member receives introductory notes about the interests of the child he or she will shortly speak to.
10. Locate a source of firewood for stoves and open fires. Start a business which either packages the wood for distribution to retailers, or delivers the wood direct to customers.
11. Start a semi professional theatre group which earns money from performing at private parties, business promotions, public events and tourist sites.
12. Begin a craft business which incorporates a barometer, digital clock, calendar and thermometer into a single framed picture. For example, there might be a picture of an aircraft cockpit or cityscape and set among the dials or skyscrapers is a barometer, digital clock, etc.
13. Bring out leather or plastic belts and holsters for holding personal stereos. Arrange for these belts and holsters to be stocked at shops which sell records or audio equipment.
14. Have pillowcases printed with amusing designs and statements related to popular themes, such as football, romance and sex. For example, one amusing design might be related to the Karma Sutra and a witty statement might be, 'The Center Forward of Liverpool and I Score Every Time'.
15. Produce photographs (about one inch square) of the human eye. Frame each photograph. Sell each framed eye as a novelty for sticking on a wall or door. This novelty can be unnerving because it creates the impression someone is watching through a hole in the wall or door.
16. Manufacture wooden TV caddies for holding an ashtray, drink, sandwich, TV programs schedule, Kleenex, etc. A TV caddie might consist of an upright plank of wood with several shelves.
17. Begin a business which invents, produces and distributes role playing board games. This field is not as competitive as ordinary board games and if a game can get a reputation for being good, role playing, game enthusiasts will be willing buyers.
18. Devise role playing games which can be played by post or the Internet. For example, someone has to plan an expedition or business and he or she receives feedback by post. Set up a postal/Internet role playing games club and charge members a fee for each game they participate in.
19. Design a standard notepad for ordering extra goods from the milkman. The notepad should have spaces for a house number, date and the customer's name. The rest of the notepad might consist of a list of goods which can be ticked. Get your notepads stocked at stationers.
20. Put together a company which publishes the bible on video cassettes. Each cassette might be devoted to a different book of the bible. The bible might be presented by readers juxtaposed with illustrations.
21. Start an interior decoration business which specializes in Tudor inspired designs. Your service might include fitting ornamental oak beams and providing iron and brass wall ornaments. Put together a sales presentation and advertise in up market magazines.
22. Create a mail order business which sells sensory exploration kits for young children. Make many of the kits yourself. For example, one kit might consist of a wide range of colors on different cards, another kit might have a wide range of rough and smooth materials.
23. Earn money from selling house numbers and name signs door to door. Many houses have rusty, old or difficult to see, numbers. This presents an opportunity for a direct sales business.
24. Begin your own furniture removals business. Start by hiring a van to do the removals and if business proves promising, buy your own.
25. Found a trade publication for publishers of audio cassettes. This publication should give the latest news about this industry. Also accept ads from businesses who want to sell things to audio cassette publishers. Alternatively do the same for CDs or DVDs in specialized areas of interest.
26. Write and publish an annual directory about 'penny shares'. The purpose of this directory is to examine the progress of penny share companies over the past year. Use direct mail to sell copies of this directory to investors. Also, get copies stocked at book shops. For a good manual on Penny Shares, call Medina on 01189 462606.
27. Start a school of stock market investment. With the number of shareholders growing, there is a public demand for tuition about investing in the stock market. Hold classes at home, and in hired offices or halls. Also, do a correspondence course or a lesson of the month newsletter.
28. Produce 'add one' plays on audio cassettes for amateur actors and actresses. A play is produced on audio cassette and a gap is left for a listener to read the lines of a character. A printed copy of the play is provided with each cassette.
29. Sell ideas and recipes for making unusual cakes. For example, cakes shaped like: cars, UFOs, trains, ships, famous landmarks, etc. For each design, produce a folded page - like a knitting pattern. Sell these printed recipes through outlets which sell cake decorations.
30. Make pendants from seashells. Use gold paint to highlight the features of each seashell. Or use ordinary paints to paint pictures or patterns on seashells. Sell these pendants through gift or souvenir shops, or from a market stall.
31. Seek out the most powerful hand held magnifying glass in the world. Buy lots of these at trade prices and start a mail order business. Bill your product as 'The World's Most Powerful Pocket Magnifying Glass'.
32. Write and publish a newsletter for those who want to make money with their photographic or video camera. In each issue, give a detailed description of a selected enterprise. Also, provide subscribers with other money making ideas, and news and tips about photography and video making.
33. Set up a mail order business which sells gold chain by the inch. Use creative advertising to put across your sales message.
34. Bring out your own mail order catalogue which is devoted to enameling craft equipment and supplies. You can commission manufacturers to make many of the supplies.
35. Start an enterprise which places racks of bead necklaces at a wide range of shops. Buy the beads from importers and mount them on the racks yourself.
36. Write and publish a manual about how to make money from buying bankrupt stock. Sell this manual to business opportunity seekers by direct mail or from classified ads.
37. Start a mail order business which sells exercise programs, or products which help remove tummy bulges or excess fat on legs.
38. Design and manufacture kits for making moccasins. These kits could make the basis of a mail order business. Advertise the kits in publications devoted to arts and crafts.
39. Write and publish a series of manuals about starting and running different craft businesses. Examples of the crafts covered might include: leather work, soft toy making, pottery, woodcarving and egg craft. Use classified ads to sell the manuals or get them stocked at craft shops.
40. Launch an enterprise which specializes in writing sales letters. Call on businesses to sell your serve ice and show samples of your work. Your service should be good enough to improve the sales pull of almost any sales letter a firm already has.
41. Start a bookplate of the month club for both established collectors and people who would like to take up a new collecting hobby. The bread and butter work of this club would involve sending newly issued bookplates to club members.
42. Invent and develop a program which is designed to turn a person who has failed into a success. The program might take the form of a series of booklets, loose-leaf binders of information, or a correspondence course. Sell your program from ads in newspapers and magazines.
43. Bring out a range of cake decorations which have a football theme. Use these decorations as the basis of a mail order business, or get them stocked by wholesalers of cake decorations.
44. Take top quality photographs of historic and well known buildings in your town or region. Select the best photographs and have these printed on writing paper and envelopes. The idea is that tourists will use this stationery to write home. Also, do the same for other towns or regions.
45. Design and produce a range of first name self adhesive stickers for children to put on their toys and books. Sell your stickers through toy shops and newsagents.
46. Bring out a cataloguing system for book buyers to use at home. For example, have a card index box with pre printed cards. The cards have printed spaces for name of author, etc. Also include self adhesive numbers. Sell your card index system through book shops.
47. Start a school of crossword puzzles. Provide tuition for people who want to either, improve their crossword skills, or earn money from devising crosswords. Give tuition during the evenings and weekends. Also bring out a correspondence course about how to devise crossword puzzles.
48. Begin a word and phrase origin finding service. This service would be invaluable to academics, lecturers, authors and all others curious about the origin of words and phrases. Build up a list of regular users of your service.
49. Produce a correspondence course about how to write a biography. The publishing of biographies is one of the largest sectors of the publishing industry. This course teaches budding authors about what is involved in writing a biography.
50. Bring out a selection of computer programs which can be sold as a business opportunity. For example, one program might be for starting a computerized dating agency. Another for writing a newsletter, or classified ad sheet. A third for starting a computerized market place.
I hope that these small business ideas have inspired you to consider starting a small business of your own.